Small business owners are often entrepreneurs at heart. They have a mind for making money, an aptitude for building profit, for finding a need in the community, and then creating a product or service to fill it.
There’s a myth among young business owners, and that is that they will be able to serve all clients who have the need they intend to fill. They assume that their service or product will work well for anyone. For instance, if you are a drug counselor, then you might have the idea that you’re service will fit everyone’s needs, that regardless of whether your potential clients are young or old, whether they are suffering from depression or schizophrenia, that everyone who comes your way will benefit from your service.
Discovering a Niche in the Beginning
However, it isn’t true. The best entrepreneurs, those who have been successful, have discovered that finding a niche is one of the most important tasks to developing a business. In fact, according to Hector Barreto, former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, uncovering a niche is something to do during the beginning stages of business development, not later as an afterthought.
A business niche is your piece of the pie. Your slice of the market that you have identified as having some special characteristic that warrants what you’re selling. It is your portion of the market to whom you will market your product or services.
In fact, the market niche you choose to target is the way you will establish an edge over others offering the same products or services. For instance, let’s say you provide accounting services. You might find that there is a need among psychologists and therapists who may not be as familiar with accounting as other business owners. Perhaps you want to market yourself as an accountant who services the mental health field. Perhaps then you want to include in your advertising those images and words that might appeal to a psychotherapist.
The key to your success is to differentiate yourself from others who are already providing a product or service, in other words, defining yourself differently from what already exists.
Finding Your Way to Long-Term Sobriety
In a way this is similar to finding your way to long-term sobriety. When you were getting sober, there might have been a wealth of knowledge presented to you during residential treatment care, and then during your stay at a sober living home. You might have also met a large number of counselors, therapists, sober living staff, and psychiatrists who told you what they thought you needed in order to get sober. Yet, in the end, you had to assess your own needs. You needed to identify the way that you were going to get sober. You needed to get to know yourself to know what you needed.
In the same way, like getting sober, becoming successful also requires getting to know yourself as well as getting to know your clients. One way to do this is to do what Jennifer Lawton recommends. She is the form founder of a computer service company, senior vice president of a corporate strategy firm, and most recently the owner of Just Books, Inc, in Greenwich, CT. She recommends that to do the following:
- Know Yourself – Know your strengths and weaknesses and what you can offer. Later when you’re building and growing your business, you’ll also want to know what you’re abilities are in terms of what to outsource and what you can accomplish in house.
- Know Your Goal – What do you want to achieve by when? Being clear on your vision and the steps to get there will facilitate creating a business that clearly meets a need.
- Know Your Customer – In order to meet a need, you’ll have to research and investigate who your customer is. What do they want? Where do they shop? For what life purposes and desires are they spending their money?
- Keep it Simple – Know the need and know your product. This goes hand in hand with knowing your client. Keep it simple by recognizing that your business is based on one thing: your ability to meet the needs of your target market, your niche.
- Have Fun! – Make sure that you’re not too overwhelmed with the complexities of the business itself. Have fun with your team. Schedule Team Appreciation Days. Play a fun game with one another once per week. Keep the enthusiasm and vitality of building a business alive within your organization.
This article has provided tips for succeeding in business. However, if you’ve achieved sobriety, there’s a great chance you’ll achieve business success as well.